White Paper | Advanced Robotics
TIPS FOR CORRECT SPECIFICATION AND INSTALLATION • Consider the type of motion involved—Due to time constraints, standard industrial cable is often selected as “good enough” without due consideration of the application environment. For example, the fast and repetitive motions involved in many robotics applications call for high-flex cables. If standard cables are selected instead, this will likely result in premature wear—especially for cables that supply power and data to end- of-arm tooling. • Understand bend radius requirements—How much bending will the cable experience on a regular basis? An important factor is minimum bending radius, which is generally lower for permanent installations and higher for flexible applications. In addition, what type of jacketing is required to withstand environmental factors such as metal debris or weld flash? With appropriate planning and correct specification, the right conduit and cable chains can help to protect cables and keep work cells up and running. • Use proper installation procedures—When it comes to industrial cable, faulty installation is a common problem. From overtightening to overfilling carriers, cables are often set up incorrectly. When cables are not allowed to move freely, abrasive wear can occur and lead to premature failure. • Know the difference between bending/flexing and torsional twisting—As mentioned previously, high-flex linear motion places different stresses and demands on cable compared to torsional twisting on a specific robot axis. Specialized cables are designed to handle these torsional motions and keep cable bunches parallel to one another. Using the wrong type of cable in a highly dynamic environment will likely result in unexpected and unwelcome downtime. While flexing cables undergo constant bending when placed in a cable track, torsional applications twist the cables longitudinally during operation on a robotic arm. Be sure to specify cables that can handle bending, torsion, or both types of motion depending on the application requirements. Specialized robotic cables are rated to perform up to 10 or 20 million torsion or flexing cycles. Be sure to thoroughly investigate cable specifications or ask your cable supplier before making a final decision.
Advanced robotic systems, such as these high speed articulated arm robots, require equally advanced cables and connectors.
Advance planning and upfront consideration of cable choices can go a long way toward avoiding cable-related downtime—an all-too- common occurrence in dynamic robotics applications. Consulting with a knowledgeable systems integrator or cable manufacturer is an excellent place to start.
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